I called Allen at Cusack Mortuary today on my walk back to the office from lunch. He answered the phone himself and apologized for not replying to my emails. (He said they were having Internet connection problems in the office.) He asked how I was doing and I told him that I was still having a really hard time.

Allen told me that my mother’s ashes were put in the mail over the weekend. He said there was a delay because he had forgotten to give my sister’s mailing address to his father, and he apologized and took full responsibility for the delay. (Although he also mentioned that he was not feeling himself lately after the severe migraines and “near stroke” because of his “blood pressure problems” last week.) Allen promised that we’d have her remains by Thursday or Friday at the latest, and that tomorrow (Tuesday, September 18, 2012) he would find the tracking number(s) of the packages and would call or email me to let me know what they are.

He asked me if I had talked to Dr. Wolf, the pathologist and chief medical examiner of Lake County (according to him) who performed the autopsy on my mother. I told him I had not, and he told me that he had just worked with her again on an autopsy at another of his facilities. It was a brutal murder; a man was beaten to death from blows to the head, and Allen couldn’t understand why it was taking so long to return the cause of death, which he thought was fairly obvious. I said that it sounded horrible and he said that the worst part was that there were photos of the dead man’s bruises on the nightly news, and he felt that was a violation of the family’s privacy.

I told him — again — that it sounded horrible. He said it was, and then to change the subject I asked him to remember to call me tomorrow with the tracking number. He said he would.